If you're like me you may have spent a lot of time and money tracking down Offenders material based upon their PEACE comp cut "Face Down in the Dirt". The track is a standout, and like so many other tracks on that comp it sent me out to shake the brush for evey piece of recorded material I could find. The end result was a collection of albums and singles that are hit or miss. The first Offenders 12" We Must Rebel was released in 1983 on MDC's R Radical label, and it's no coincidence that the band comes across as a blander, less confrontational version of the label founders. Muddy production and songs best classified as "tuneless thrash" lead to a disappointing album. 1985's Endless Struggle was an improvement, but still seemed to be missing that spark, that certain something that made "Face Down in the Dirt" so amazing.
In 1989 German label Bitzcore began to reissue some of the Offenders early material. Their reissue of We Must Rebel added "Face Down..." and several other tracks as bonus material. This was it. The tracks "I Hate Myself", "Fed Up", and "Inside the Middle" all had that sound, surely coming from the same sessions that produced "Face Down". The guitar is incendiary, the vocals desperate, the drums, well there somewhere in the mix. Hellbent and out of control hardcore. Why couldn't there be more of this material?
As it turns out the tracks in question were from the band's pre We Must Rebel 1983 demo tape and have recently been resurrected by GTA as part of the Died In Custody CD. The CD contains all of Endless Struggle, the "I Hate Myself/Bad Times" 7", the '83 demo and some live cuts. Definitely worthwhile. My favorites:
Offenders - I Hate Myself.mp3
Offenders - Fed Up.mp3
Offenders - Fight Back.mp3
Offenders - Inside The Middle.mp3